Thus, in 2022, Arcade Fire is in the age of anxiety. Thus, Arcade Fire is very clearly evoking the decline of the American empire. Like all of us, Arcade Fire waits for the lightning and the light, without getting any answer. Arcade Fire has no choice but to rely on the unconditional love of people who are united in adversity. Arcade Fire concludes this opus in the refuge of a we of the people who love each other in the current situation, central theme of the album. Totally aware of the world-historical regression we are currently rowing on, the band’s leaders poetically express the fractures, the dark perspectives… and a rather slim hope in the fraternity of communities still vibrant despite everything.
Co-directed by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne with the collaboration of the great Nigel Godrich, to whom we owe Radiohead’s albums and several others, notably Paul McCartney’s best album of the last few decades (“Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”), this album is first and foremost a return to the supergroup’s primary values. Alongside Nigel Godrich, one could have expected important formal advances, new sounds, new sonic spaces invested. But Arcade Fire is not Radiohead and Nigel Godrich probably understood that it was necessary to serve the famous band rather than to push it to surpass itself conceptually. Win and Régine’s band is first and foremost interested in making powerful songs, very often constructed in the manner of federative anthems as it is the case since Funeral, released in 2004.
One observes rather the polishing of the constitutive genres of the Arcade Fire sound: indie rock, folk rock, indietronica, dance-punk, arrangements of strings and wind instruments, evocations of the new wave or mentors such as David Byrne, David Bowie or Bruce Springsteen. But above all, we find the first identity of the famous band through some key titles, these famous songlike apotheosis preceded by a dramatic rise.
In short, the first qualities are present and will reassure the fans eager to find the band of their youth at the turn of the millennium. The others will recognize that Arcade Fire has done Arcade Fire with intensity and conviction… without upsetting anything we know about them.